According to a report from the Indianapolis Star's Colts beat reporter Stephen Holder, both offensive lineman Donald Thomas and running back Ahmad Bradshaw have been cleared to practice. While in Holder's article he refers to them as "a few small victories" without even having camp yet, I'll go further than that and say that they're a few very big victories.
It has been a very good day for the Colts, despite it being a sad day around the NFL with the news of legendary Broncos owner Pat Bowlen stepping aside due to a fight with Alzheimer's. For the Colts, however, today was the day in which the players reported to training camp, which in and of itself is reason enough for fans to get excited. Even more exciting than that, however, has been the news about the injured players. We already knew from earlier in the day that running back Vick Ballard and wide receiver Reggie Wayne, both coming off of torn ACLs a year ago, were cleared to practice, as they confirmed to the media. Now, according to Holder, Donald Thomas and Ahmad Bradshaw join them.
Both are huge for the Colts. For Thomas, the hope for a while has been that he would be ready for week one after suffering a torn quad early last season - now, it appears he'll be ready to start training camp. With the questions on the interior of the offensive line, having Thomas back will be huge. He'll start at left guard and he will play well there, helping out both center Khaled Holmes and right guard Hugh Thornton quite a bit, and helping protect Andrew Luck and create running lanes for guys like Trent Richardson, Vick Ballard, and Ahmad Bradshaw.
Bradshaw was injured in the Colts' huge road win over the 49ers in week three, a game in which he put up the best single game rushing performance by a Colt all last season, rushing for 95 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries (5 yards per carry). In the three games he played, he played very well, rushing for 186 yards on 41 carries (4.5 yards per attempt) and 2 touchdowns. He has an injury history, however, and he went down injured with a neck injury last year. There was some doubt about whether Bradshaw would be healthy enough for the Colts to bring back, but they did re-sign him this offseason and if he can stay healthy he will help the team out immensely, just like Thomas will.
Both Thomas and Bradshaw will likely be especially limited early on in camp, probably more so than Reggie Wayne and Vick Ballard, who will also probably be eased into things. But the real good news here is the report that neither Donald Thomas or Ahmad Bradshaw will be placed on the PUP list to start camp, and that makes a good day for Colts fans even better.